Version reviewed: v1.3
Requires iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad running iOS 3.0 or higher
Social: Openfeint (Brig Bother)
It’s not been on proper telly for years, but still companies like to use The Crystal Maze to tap into your entertainment glands, Crystal Maze pub skill-with-prizes touchscreen machines have been around for years and years, and you can now play it on your iPod.
This isn’t the first Crystal Maze video game of course – lest we forget the not-what-you’d-call-brilliant PC version in the mid-nineties. This offers fewer games (just fourteen), but looks lovely and uses your machine’s functions quite well.
Your journey through the maze will consist of eight games, two per zone (there’s no Ocean world here). In each zone you’ll get a choice of three games (given the traditional physical, mental, skill and mystery labels) which you’ll play two of. Winning a game wins a Crystal (worth a nice round 7.5 seconds in the Crystal Dome), you can exit a game at any time by hitting the exit button, but running out of time or losing automatic lock-in games results in one of your contestants being locked in.
The games work but they’re not in the main wildly inventive – BLOODY Towers of Hanoi, a sliding puzzle and a pelmanism-esque memory game all feature, other mental games are a massively difficult circuit connection one, and a game called ‘Ignition’ which despite the lengthy instructions I couldn’t quite work out very well – it’s all very well doing all the instructions at the beginning, but having team mates shout hints if you look stuck might have been a nice addition. There’s a quite good rip-off of Labyrinth making good use of the tilt function, also making surpring good use is using the tilt to move crosshairs in the two shooting games they have. Fans of Mumsey will be pleased to hear she’s here in the Medieval zone, less delighted to hear that her questions are all multiple choice, I was getting repeats on the second playthrough and it’s now bizarrely automatic lock-in.
If you win a game, you can play it in Challenge mode and upload your fastest times to Openfeint. Challenge your friends! Or, er, don’t bother.
At the end of it all you’ll go to The Crystal Dome, and after making a decision to buy out your locked in team members or not, you use your crystals to attempt to collect gold tokens (which you do by dragging them to the box at the bottom of the screen) – the more players you have the bigger your “grabbing circle” is and presumably the easier it is to win, although I can’t say I’ve noticed a massive amount of difference with the number of team members I have left.
Presentation is clean, with decent use of video for changing zones. Aurally they’ve put some effort in – the theme’s there in full, and each zone plays its own music or sound effects for each game, the synth version of the theme tune that plays in Industrial is probably my favourite, mixing as it does synth hits with country twang. O’ Brien soundbites are piped in periodically, although they’re rarely relevant. A soundboard on the front menu lets you listen to 16 of them though. However, his written script writer is a bit shabby, lacking subtley in favour of lots of rolling rs.
The Crystal Maze iPod game is probably not the ultimate video game version of the TV show, but it’s normally so cheap that fans would have to be pretty hard-hearted not to get some entertainment out of it.